Banana Flower Subji – The Maharashtrian delight.
An exotic ingredient, Banana Flower / Kelful has amazing health benefits. It is loaded with phosphorous, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron which are vital for several bodily functions. You can actually google to find how beneficial it is to consume this exotic vegetable. Well, for us yumminess is equally important and the sight of banana flower make me salivate owing to its amazing taste. You don’t need many ingredients or spices to make this dish tasty. The banana flower itself is so tasty that you should leave out all the spices and just focus on its flavour. Whenever I see kelful in market, I am sure to pick one up. I know its a bit tedious and messy in terms of cleaning and chopping but the efforts are well paid off with the taste.
- Kelful / Banana Flower – 1 medium (cleaned and chopped) (will add pics and steps on how to clean at the end)
- Chana Dal – 1 cup, soaked for 4 – 5 hours
- Onion – 1 big, chopped
- Garlic – 7 to 8 cloves – sliced into half
- Green Chilly – 4, halved
- Hing – 1/2 teaspoon
- Rai – 1 teaspoon
- MOMmade Haldi Powder – Half teaspoon
- Salt to Taste
- Grated fresh coconut – for garnish
Of all the tasks in making a Kelful Bhaji, the most tedious one is cleaning it. And many are averse to it hence avoid buying it altogether. But the real lovers of Kelful cannot not buy it when they see the same in the market. Generally it a specific maushi (aunty) who has got it for selling. And I surely cannot stop myself from buying it. I learnt to clean a Kelful long back on a one month vacation to Vengurla (konkan). Keep reading the article to learn to cleaning process as well for all the newbees to Kelful.
Here we have the cleaned and chopped Kelful immersed in water as it turn black immediately. Once it is cleaned and chopped, the rest of the cooking is very simple and easy. Chana dal has been soaking in water for around 4 hours. It just makes the cooking process easier and faster. Chana dal can be replaced by pulses of your choice like chavali, whole chana but honestly I prefer and make it with chana dal only everytime.
To a hot pan, add around 2 tablespoon of oil. Pop in the rai and let it crackle. Then add the garlic and green chillies. You can also crush the garlic but I like it sliced.
Add in the chopped onions and fry for a minute. Then add MOMmade Haldi Powder and salt. Salt helps to cook onions faster and evenly.
Throw in the soaked Chana Dal. Fry for 2 minutes. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or till the chana dal is almost cooked. You can add a splash of water if the dal is getting burnt or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the chana dal is cooked to 80%, add in the chopped Kelful. Give it a nice mix. Cover and keep cooking for another 7 to 8 minutes till the bhaji is properly cooked.
And finally garnish with scraped fresh coconut. This completes the dish and flavour too. Believe me, you taste it once and you will want to make it again and again.
Now here comes the most difficult part. A step by step guide to cleaning the Kelful / Banana Flower.
First an foremost apply some vegetable oil to your hand. As cleaning kelful can blacken your fingers and nails. Start by removing the maroon leaf. This maroon leaf needs to be discarded. You will see small florets. You need these. Remove and keep aside. You will have the dissemble the flower one layer by one layer. As you go inside and inside, the maroon leaf will change to a light yellow colour leaf.
Keep removing the leaf and florets till you reach a stage where the florets become really tiny and the leaf is very much attached to the core. See the first image above. Remove of the stem and discard. Keep the core aside.
Then coming to the small florets, you will have to open then one by one and remove a translucent part (as in first image above) and a stalk with black head (as in second image above)
You will have to individually clean all the florets. Once done you will have a core and cleaned florets. Discard the translucent part and stalk with black head removed from each floret. Start chopping the florets finely. The half the core and chop finely. Remember to immediately put the chopped pieces in a bowl cold water. As they turn black immediately on chopping. You may find sticky threads coming our while chopping. No worries. Just drop the whole thing in the bowl of water. And thats how you clean a Kelful. Long process with a number of steps. And also tedious and messy. But kehte hai “Kuch paane ke liye kuch khona bhi padta hai” You may have to loose some time and hold on to your patience while cleaning. But the taste will make all the effort absolutely worthy.
BE YUMMY. BE HEALTHY.
I am Manasi Khandpekar, the founder of MOMmade along with my mom. She is the backbone while I enjoy being the face. Travelling from graphic design to brand communication to creating a brand of my own was a journey of learnings and excitement. The world of food fascinates me everyday. And thats where I am living every moment right now. Writing is another passion so food plus writing gave birth to this blog.